'The Playboy Murders: The Girl With the Star Tattoo,' a 40-year-old former Playboy model, was murdered in Coral Springs, Florida, in March 1997. The episode takes the viewers into the lives of Playboy models and its aftermath, highlighting how Star was an indirect victim of the glossy lifestyle.
What Was the Cause of Starship Stowe's Death?
The Coral Springs Police Department received a call about a body of a woman lying face down on the street with one of her arms under her. Upon closer inspection, the officers discovered that she had been strangled and had a start tattooed on her body.
'I jokingly told my colleague that back in the 70s, the girl dating Gene Simmons (founder and bassist of the popular American rock band, KISS) had a similar tattoo on her body. What are the chances?' Dennis knew immediately, as the body would soon identify to the person he joked about.
Ellen Louise "Star" Stowe Milago was born on March 19, 1956, in Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas. According to Stella Tetenbaum, Star was born in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Nevada when she first arrived to Los Angeles as a teenager.
According to the program, an 18-year-old Star met Gene Simmons at the hotel Sahara elevators in 1975. The heavy metal band was preparing to perform a show at the hotel. Star quickly recognized him because of his charms and laid-back manner.
Star and Gene were a well-known couple in Hollywood, blending glamor with rock and music. Gene confessed how he suggested Star send her photographs to Playboy and that he encouraged the images to go to the scouts of the popular adult magazine in the 1970s.
Star Stowe was chosen as the Playmate of the Month in February 1977 by the show's creator and former Editor-in-Chief, Hugh Marston Hefner, who wore only a G-string and posed with a Rickenbacker guitar. She was also named the "original rockstar girl" due to her relationship with Gene.
"To be a centerfold back in the 1970s was a significant undertaking," Holly stated. Playboy had an average monthly readership of around six million in the 1970s, and she had no clue things would come to an end as quickly as they began.
Who Killed Star Stowe?
Star was left to deal with the world of Gene and Hugh Hefner due to a Playboy company, according to the program. In the early 1980s, she married Peter Maligo and had a son, Michael Maligo.
Star moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 1986 with the aspiration of becoming an exotic dancer. She sent her 6-year-old to live with her parents in Little Rock, Arkansas. According to an anonymous former boyfriend, Star abused drugs and reportedly began working as a sex worker.
Star and her former boyfriend were reportedly together for five years before she fell out of love with drugs and attempted suicide. In August 1996, she returned to the streets, apparently doing drugs and working as a sex worker. According to police records, witnesses last saw Star alive working the streets in her old neighborhood in Coral Springs, Florida, on March 15, 1997.
The detectives investigating Star's murder believed that the perpetrators might have picked her up by pretending as a client before killing her and disposing her body behind the Eckerd medical store. While the police linked her murder to other sex workers' deaths, including Sandra Kay Walters, Tammy Strunk, and Theresa Kettner, they had no substantial evidence to charge anyone.
According to the show, the cops had a number of suspects and conducted background checks on them. The murders remain a mystery to date due to the absence of physical evidence. Even around 26 years later, Star's murder remains unsolved, and the investigation is open with the investigators hoping that someone will discover authentic information leading to the perpetrator(s).